Lockhart ISD Approves Pay Increases for Teachers and Staff, Eagle Pass ISD Not Doing Enough?


Lockhart, Texas — As Central Texas school districts finalize their budgets, Lockhart ISD has announced significant pay raises for its employees. This development contrasts sharply with Austin ISD, which is grappling with a multimillion-dollar deficit. On Monday night, Lockhart ISD approved a pay increase of up to 4.6% for teachers and librarians for the 2024-25 school year. Other school employees will receive a 3% increase, while substitute teachers will see their pay rise by up to 26%, and substitute nurses by up to 50%.

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Superintendent Mark Estrada highlighted the district’s efforts despite challenges from the state legislature. He expressed pride in the raises given the circumstances, stating, “They are deserving of so much more, but we are proud of the raise that we were able to give this year in spite of the inaction of the state legislature.” This sentiment underscores the district’s commitment to its staff and the importance of supporting educators who play a critical role in students’ lives.

In addition to salary increases, the new budget includes funds for free school supplies for all Lockhart ISD students. This initiative aims to alleviate the financial burden on families and ensure that all students have the necessary materials to succeed in their education. The district is also expanding the Communities In Schools program to all campuses, demonstrating a commitment to providing comprehensive support services to students. This program focuses on helping students stay in school and succeed in life by addressing both academic and non-academic needs.

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Further investments include $300,000 dedicated to fine arts programs, which will enhance the educational experience by fostering creativity and providing students with opportunities to explore their artistic talents. Additionally, $200,000 is allocated to support special education, ensuring that students with special needs receive the resources and attention they require. The budget also includes $265,000 for campus social workers, highlighting the importance of mental health and social support within the school environment. Another significant investment is $130,000 to start an Early College High School program, which will allow students to earn college credits while still in high school, giving them a head start on their higher education journey.

Lockhart High School coaching stipends received a $35,000 increase, the first adjustment since the 2017-18 school year. This increase recognizes the hard work and dedication of coaches who contribute to students’ physical education and development. Moreover, the balanced budget includes investments to support academic intervention, school safety, curriculum, and instructional support for students. These measures aim to create a safe and effective learning environment that fosters academic success and personal growth.

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Despite losing funding from the state last school year due to growth and increased property values, Lockhart ISD managed to secure additional resources through a voter-approved tax ratification election (VATRE) in November. This initiative increased the tax rate by three pennies, ensuring that the tax revenue stayed within the district. Estrada mentioned that this tax increase helped the district recoup $3 million lost to the state, allowing them to provide raises for their employees. “The increase in the tax rate by three pennies… gives us the ability to give our staff a raise each year,” Estrada explained. This local support underscores the community’s commitment to investing in education and supporting the district’s staff.

In contrast, Austin ISD is struggling to balance its budget, even considering the VATRE. Austin ISD board members have discussed the challenges of providing raises without recurring funding, expressing concerns over one-time financial boosts. “Without the VATRE, we’re just going to give one-time bumps,” a board member said, adding, “When you all know I hate one-time bumps because I think they’re a scam.” Despite these efforts, Austin ISD leaders admit that the district won’t be out of the red, highlighting the financial difficulties facing many school districts.

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Lockhart ISD is also focused on addressing the staffing shortage by planning for 30% of its teachers to earn over $100,000 by 2028. Estrada proudly noted that the first group of teachers has already reached this milestone, demonstrating the district’s commitment to attracting and retaining high-quality educators. “We have a plan so that 30% of our teachers are making over $100,000 by 2028,” Estrada said. “That is a big push. We’re laser-focused on that this year. We actually had our first group of teachers get over that $100,000 threshold.”

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Comparatively, the average salary of teachers in Lockhart ISD is $55,000, which is higher than the average salary in Eagle Pass ISD, where teachers earn $48,000. This disparity in salaries highlights the proactive measures taken by Lockhart ISD to offer competitive compensation. By securing additional funds through community support and strategic budget planning, Lockhart ISD can attract and retain quality educators. This commitment to better compensation reflects the district’s recognition of the crucial role that teachers play in the educational success of their students.


Furthermore, when comparing the leadership in these districts, there are notable differences. In Lockhart ISD, Superintendent Marguerito Estrada oversees a district with an enrollment of 6,604 students and receives a base pay of $249,100. In contrast, Eagle Pass ISD, under the leadership of Superintendent Samuel Mijares, serves 13,869 students, nearly double the enrollment of Lockhart ISD, and Mijares receives a higher base pay of $297,211. These salary differences between the superintendents reflect the varying scales and challenges of managing different-sized districts.

Lockhart ISD’s proactive approach to budgeting and securing additional funds through community support highlights the district’s commitment to its staff and students, setting a positive example for other districts facing similar challenges. By prioritizing the well-being and financial stability of its educators, Lockhart ISD is investing in the future success of its students and the overall quality of education within the district. This forward-thinking strategy demonstrates the district’s dedication to creating a supportive and thriving educational environment for all.

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Source: KVUE


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One thought on “Lockhart ISD Approves Pay Increases for Teachers and Staff, Eagle Pass ISD Not Doing Enough?

  1. Please look into the pay for EPISD teacher substitutes who are degreed and certified…….$16 an hour. Before last year, it was $14. So demoralizing.

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